Sartell on International Women’s Day

As many communities around the globe celebrate International Women’s Day this March 8th, Sartell has its own show of support for the holiday by some of the students at Sartell High School.

Mr. Snyder,advisor of the Gender Equality Club, shared, “They had a speaker come from St. Cloud State, she’s the head of the women’s center… She came in and talked about what they do for gender equality and women’s issues and sexual assault, and sexual harassment and violence.”  He continues, ”They [Gender Equality Club] also did a t-shirt campaign to raise money for Planned Parenthood, and also just kind of promote the day and raise awareness about the existence of the day. It doesn’t get much attention sometimes.”

The shirt has the words “Nevertheless, She Persisted” across the chest, a nod at a common motto used by the current feminist movement. After Mitch McConnell attempted to silence Senator Elizabeth Warren on the Senate floor, many people came out against his actions. In an attempt to counteract the backlash, he used the phrase “nevertheless, she persisted” in his reasoning for quieting Senator Warren; this backfired after the modern feminist movement adopted the phrase in to their arsenal of euphemisms to combat sexism.

Even teachers have risen in support of the cause. Social studies teacher, Mr. Hentges, who purchased a t-shirt in solidarity with the club, said, “Well, I know that our gender equality club was doing a fundraiser, and I think that anytime your supporting gender equality, that’s good…It goes to a good cause, to Planned Parenthood.”

International Women’s Day is a UN recognized holiday that celebrates the social, political, economic, and cultural achievements of women throughout history. Over the decades, the day has come with protests and rallies in support of the changing of outdated laws and allowing women to make their own choices for their body and lifestyle, among other ideals.

Despite the international support of the holiday, many have voiced their opposition. The validity of the day is often questioned with many wondering if it’s a necessity. Mrs. Rollings, when asked about the importance of International Women’s Day, said, “ I don’t know that it is important… I think women are important… and I think men are important… so I don’t know that the day itself is so very important.”

Both teachers, Hentges and Rollings, had similar viewpoints on sexism in Sartell, specifically in the high school. Rollings said, “It’s alive and well within our school, within our town, within our state, within our country.”   Hentges said nothing happens here that makes us “uniquely sexist” and that it is more of a “cultural practice.” Though both teachers recognize its local impacts, they stress that they both have yet to see anything overtly explicit within the walls of the high school.

Bella Aizcorbe, a member of the gender equality club said this of the annual celebration, ”It’s important especially here at this high school. I’ve heard a lot of people say, like, “When is International Men’s Day?” which ironically, there actually is one [it’s] November 19th in case you were wondering… Here it’s really important because some people don’t respect gender equality, like as a club, or even a movement at all, and that’s just really important and says a lot about where we are right now, which is not good.”

Kassy Markey, who also bought the club’s shirt, said this of the day and her donation to Planned Parenthood: “I feel like Planned Parenthood is one of those things and people just think, ‘Abortions!’ but… you can get STD testing, pregnancy testing…I think its important because we need to recognize how far women have come, but we also need to recognize that we have so much further to go.”